Two township trustees face off in the Democratic primary for the 59th state representative seat

By David Skolnick


Two township trustees – Poland’s Eric C. Ungaro and Boardman’s Larry Moliterno – are vying for the Democratic nomination for the 59th Ohio House District seat.

The winner will face Republican Don Manning in the general election. State Rep. John Boccieri isn’t seeking re-election and instead is running in the open 33rd Ohio Senate District race in the November general election.

Ungaro, who is also a special-education teacher and varsity football coach at Howland school district, said his education experience makes him the best candidate for the job.

“We should give the money from failing charter schools to public schools, which would give them much needed funding,” Ungaro said.

Regarding education, Ungaro, who’s been a Poland Township trustee for the past six years, also wants to:

Reduce or eliminate unnecessary testing.

Expand pre-kindergarten and early-childhood funding as well as funding for workforce development and trade schools in grades nine through 12.

Address growing concerns about school safety.

Moliterno, the chief executive officer of Meridian HealthCare, said he would put his business experience and his decade as a Boardman Township trustee to use representing the 59th District.

“Politicians make decisions on the next election,” he said. “I don’t do that. I make decisions based on the next generation.”

Moliterno has testified before the General Assembly numerous times on issues such as Medicaid expansion and local government funding cuts.

If elected, Moliterno wants to foster redevelopment of land to create jobs such as the chill-can plant project on Youngstown’s East Side, support vulnerable populations of people such as senior citizens and support local school systems and encourage career alternatives for high-school graduates.

Moliterno and Ungaro say they are strong proponents of the fight against the opioid epidemic.

Moliterno wants to continue the fight by providing instant access to treatment as Meridian HealthCare provides, ongoing recovery support, a collaboration with the criminal justice system and an investment in prevention education.

Ungaro, whose brother died from a drug overdose, said he would work statewide to promote family support and grief support groups, increase the available bed space for treatment centers and promote the importance of providing the continuum of care these people need.

The 59th District includes Beaver, Berlin, Boardman, Canfield, Ellsworth, Goshen, Green, Jackson, Milton, Poland, Smith and Springfield townships; the city of Canfield; and the villages of Beloit, Craig Beach, New Middletown, Poland and Sebring, as well as a small portion of Austintown.

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